EASTER VII [A] SUNDAY (May 21) Eight minutes homily in 1- page
(Seventh Sunday of Easter Readings are used on SUNDAY in dioceses which celebrate the Ascension on THURSDAY)
Introduction: Our central challenge from the Holy Spirit in today’s readings is, with His grace, to rejoice in our sufferings for the Faith. For the more we suffer, the more we are identified with Jesus who has liberated us from the bondage of sin by his suffering and death.
Scripture readings summarized: Today’s first reading tells us how the apostles waited in prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit Who would enable them to preach and bear witness to Christ in spite of persecutions. In the second reading, Peter challenges his early Christian audience and us to view and accept suffering as an opportunity to be more fully one with Jesus. The Gospel gives us the beginning of the “High Priestly Prayer” in which Jesus prays for himself and for protection and unity for his disciples. In the first part of the section we hear today, Jesus prays for himself and his chosen apostles. He prays for the protection and unity of his disciples. In the second part, Jesus commends his apostles to the Father and prays for them because they have accepted the word of God and acknowledged his Divine origin as the Messiah. They have put their trust in Jesus and His Father. Jesus prays that they may act as agents of truth and love in the world, that they may be protected from evil, and that they may be one.
Life messages: 1) We need to center our Christian life on prayer. Christian prayer has forms for individual Christians and for communities. These include individual prayer, the prayer of the liturgy, and para-liturgical prayers/services, such as Stations of the Cross and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. There are also different kinds of prayer, including vocal prayers, the Rosary, and contemplative prayer. In the final analysis, prayer means getting into contact with God — listening to Him and talking to Him. We should try to set aside some time each day to spend with God in prayer. If we are convinced of the presence of God within us, we can talk to Him even while we are driving, waiting in line, or doing routine work in the kitchen or yard. Our talk with God can include praise and thanksgiving, pleas for forgiveness and prayer for our needs. A few minutes spent in reading the Bible is a good way of listening to God.
2) We need to glorify Christ by the lives we live. When we live ethical lives, that is, lives of integrity in which our performance is in harmony with our profession of Faith, we are glorifying Jesus. An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, a fair deal on a product, a truthful, trustworthy guarantee – all these reflect our integrity. We glorify God by our prayer-life and our faithful observance of the Lord’s Day. We glorify Jesus by humble and selfless service to Him in our brothers and sisters – distributing lunches to the homeless begging on the street corner, volunteering at homeless shelters, tutoring children, helping with after-school care, teaching Vacation Bible School, or doing random acts of kindness. Finally, we glorify God by speaking kind, merciful, loving, and encouraging words
EASTER VII SUNDAY (May 21): Acts 1:12-14; 1 Pt 4:13-16; Jn 17:1-11a
Homily starter anecdotes: # 1: The great ones found their glory in their death: William Barclay says, “It was in their death that the great ones found their glory.” Abraham Lincoln had his enemies in his lifetime, but even those who had criticized him saw his greatness when he died. Joan of Arc was burned as a witch and a heretic by the English. But some people left the scene saying, “We are all lost because we have burned a saint.” The Church finally concurred, canonizing St. Joan of Arc on May 16, 1920. Martin Luther King, Jr. was ridiculed as a radical, a rabble-rouser, and a dangerous Communist in his lifetime, but is hailed today as a prophet. Maybe that’s what Jesus had in mind when he turned his eyes toward heaven and prayed, “Father, the time has come; glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” The one who endured the shame of the cross brought salvation to a broken world. It was in their death that the great ones found their glory. (https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
# 2: Mother Teres’s Simple Path: A businessman and admirer of Mother Teresa of Calcutta offered to make a set of “business cards” for her work. Imprinted on the small yellow cards, are five lines which outline the direction of what Mother Teresa calls her simple path. The cards read: “The fruit of silence is PRAYER. The fruit of prayer is FAITH. The fruit of faith is LOVE. The fruit of love is SERVICE. The fruit of service is PEACE” (Mother Teresa, A Simple Path, Ballantine Books, New York: 1995). This simple path has led Mother Teresa to live her life in union with God and given in loving service to the poorest of the poor. While he was with them, Jesus marked a similar path for his disciples. A life of prayer, faith, love, service and peace was his legacy to them, and before he returned to the Father Who had sent him, Jesus prayed that his followers would persevere in the path he himself had traveled. To aid believers in keeping to the path he had set for them, Jesus promised that he and the Father would come to dwell within them through the Spirit Who would remain with them always (recall the Gospel for Sixth Sunday of Easter, especially John 14:16-20). — In a sense, Jesus was telling his disciples that each of them would become a dwelling place for God, a meeting place of prayer and peace, an Upper Room! (Sanchez Files). https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
# 3: “I look at God and God looks at me.” There is a familiar anecdote in the life of St. John Maria Vianney, the “Cure D’Ars.” He used to notice a peasant standing in front of the tabernacle in the village church every morning on his way for farm work. One day he asked him, “What do you do here every morning?” The man answered very simply: “I look at God and God looks at me.” The Cure D’Ars liked to repeat this story: “He looked at God and God looked at him: this says everything about genuine prayer, my children!” — Today’s first reading gives us the model of a silent spiritual retreat as conducted by the apostles, and the Gospel gives us a model for prayer in Jesus’ own farewell prayer. https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
# 4: “Reggie, this is God. Go to Green Bay.” Here’s a good story for football fans. Many of you may know the name Reggie White. Reggie was a defensive end for the Green Bay Packers for 6 seasons (1993-1999). But he is also an ordained minister. Before signing a 17-million-dollar deal with the Packers, White had said that he would look to God to tell him where to play. Later, Green Bay Coach Mike Holmgren confessed that he had left a message on White’s answering machine that said, “Reggie, this is God. Go to Green Bay.” (Sports Illustrated) — Today we want to focus for a few moments on prayer, but not just any prayer; we are focusing on a prayer from the lips of God Incarnate – Jesus’ “High Priestly prayer.” https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
Introduction: The season of Easter is nearly at an end. This past Thursday we celebrated the Ascension of our Lord. The central theme of today’s readings is a challenge to us to rejoice in our suffering for the Faith because the more we suffer the more we are identified with Jesus who has liberated us from the bondage of sin by his suffering and death. The first reading tells us how the apostles waited in prayer for the promised coming of the Holy Spirit, who would enable them to preach and bear witness to Christ in spite of persecutions. The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 27), has us sing, “The Lord is my Light and my salvation; /whom should, I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge; /of whom should I be afraid?” In the second reading, Peter challenges his early Christian audience and us to view and accept sufferings as an opportunity to be more fully one with Jesus. The Gospel gives us the first part of the “High Priestly Prayer” in which Jesus prays for himself and for protection and unity for his disciples.
The first reading (Acts 1:12-14) explained: These verses provide a historical link between the Ascension and the election of Matthias to fill the place of Judas Iscariot. It depicts a kind of spiritual retreat for Mary and the apostles. The disciples had returned to the upper room, the site of Jesus’ last meal. Listing those gathered, Luke mentions 11 disciples and then explicitly notes the presence of “some women,” including Mary, the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. They needed the time to pray as they waited for clearer direction from the Holy Spirit before undertaking the dynamic mission that was their destiny. The apostles had been told that when the Spirit came upon them, they would receive the power they had been promised (Luke 24:49). This instruction anticipated the coming of the Spirit and the power that would be given the apostles on Pentecost (Acts 2), which we will celebrate next Sunday. In today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 27), the pervading theme is also prayer — prayer which brings us closer to God and to His Son, Jesus Christ.
The second reading (1 Peter 4:13-16) explained: : Peter challenges his early Christian audience to accept sufferings as opportunities to identify themselves with Jesus. “Rejoice,” he encourages the newly-baptized, “to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ. Whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but should glorify God because of the Name.” It is glory for Christians to suffer for Christ. But in the Mercy of God, to suffer as a consequence of doing evil, not admirable in itself, can be a grace permitted us by God Who still loves us. For by it He awakens us to our sinful condition so that we may repent and return to Him, resolved to sin no more. Both the Jewish and the Gentile Christians had to face persecutions and inner suffering. The Jewish members had to give up many of their long-cherished traditions and to suffer the loss of their Jewish friends. The Gentiles had to struggle to give up some of their old ways, such as magic and idolatry, which were incompatible with the Gospel. Although they all considered Jesus the restorer of the kingship of David, they soon discovered that his throne included the cross and suffering as well as joy. Peter is not suggesting that greater Faith will make one impervious to suffering, but that, properly accepted, it can render that suffering salvific. Jesus, the Messiah, that is, the Restorer of the glorious kingship of David, a Monarch above all suffering, had the cross for his throne, and found his strength in his submission to the evil others did to him. Hence, the believer needs, and is meant to, use suffering to give meaning to his life by identifying himself with the suffering Jesus.
Gospel exegesis: The “High Priestly Prayer:” Today’s Gospel gives us the first part of Jesus’ magnificent prayer at the Last Supper. This farewell prayer is often likened to Moses’ farewell address (Dt 31:30ff), which concludes with Moses’ final blessing on Israel (Dt 33), and it is reminiscent of the prayer of Aaron (Lv 9:16). Some scholars think that this prayer, which concludes the Last Supper discourse, may have been structured on the petitions of the Our Father or Lord’s Prayer. In the section for today, taken from the beginning of the “High Priestly Prayer,” Jesus prays for himself and for the protection and unity of his disciples. This prayer is called “The High Priestly Prayer” because Jesus, as High Priest, is preparing to offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, and he is interceding for his disciples just as the high priest interceded for the people of Israel. It is also called the “Prayer of Consecration” because in it, Jesus consecrates himself to his redemptive death, offering himself to the Father as an obedient, willing sacrifice. Also, he prays that through his death the Father and the Son may be glorified. Thus, the prayer proclaims our hope and our certainty— a life lived in communion with the Father and the Son. Jesus has glorified the Father; the Father has glorified the Son. We know that Jesus has come from the Father. We are “incorporated” into Christ by adoption, as Christ, by Nature, is in the Father. We belong to God, and He will protect us so that we may be one with each other in Him. The sufferings we face are only temporary; the glory we will receive is eternal.
Glory in crucifixion: Jesus prays first for the success of his mission. “Glorify your Son so that Your Son may glorify You.” This “glory” of the Son would come in a very strange way – through suffering and death. To Jesus, the Cross is the glory of life and the way to the glory of eternity. Jesus considers his crucifixion as his glorification — as do the martyrs. Their deaths show people what, who, and Whose, they really are. The Cross is the glory of Jesus because it is the completion of his Redemptive work. “I have accomplished the work,” he says to the Father, “which You gave me to do.” His work is both to reopen the Gates of Heaven for humankind, and to show men, by his life, suffering, and death, how much God loves them. The cross of Jesus glorifies God because Jesus accepts his death on the cross in perfect obedience to his Father, God.
The essence of eternal life: According to the New Testament “eternal life is this: to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent” (Jn 17:3). To know God in the Gospel sense is to have a deep personal experience of God who is working in our lives. This “knowing” involves a close, intimate relationship which matures eventually into one of mutual love and trust. Christian Faith is essentially a ‘believing in’– a total surrender. It is the way we come to ‘know’ Christ.
Prayer for the disciples: In the second part of today’s section of the “High Priestly Prayer,” Jesus commends his apostles to the Father and prays for them because they have already accepted the word of God and acknowledged his Divine origin as the Messiah. They have put their trust in Jesus and his Father. Jesus prays that they may act as agents of truth and love in the world. They are to be the leaven in the dough, the purifying salt, and the lights shining in the darkness. Jesus asks the Father to protect them from evil and to make them one. Prayer is a constant and continuing attitude of trust and acceptance of God’s presence in the community. It is not merely asking God for something, but also giving Him thanks for everything. It is desiring that God’s Holy Will may be done effectively in and through our lives.
Life messages: 1) We need to center our Christian life on prayer. Christian prayer has prayer-forms for individual Christians and for communities. These include individual prayers, the prayers of the liturgy, and para-liturgical prayers/services, such as Stations of the Cross and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. There are also different kinds of prayer, including vocal prayer, the Rosary, and contemplative prayer. In the final analysis, prayer means getting into contact with God, raising our minds and hearts to God, listening to Him. and talking to Him. We should try to set aside some time each day to spend with God in prayer. If we are convinced of the presence of God within us, we can talk to Him even while we are driving, waiting in line or doing routine work in the kitchen or yard. Our talk with God can include praise and thanksgiving, pleas for forgiveness and prayer for our needs. A few minutes spent in reading the Bible is a good way of listening to God.
2) We need to glorify Christ by the lives we live. When we live ethical lives, that is, lives of integrity in which our performance is in harmony with our profession of Faith, we are glorifying Jesus. An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, a fair deal on a product, a truthful, trustworthy guarantee – all these reflect our integrity. When others see Christians who will not cheat on their income tax, who will stand up for peace with justice, who will love even when it costs, who will stand with the poor and oppressed, who will use their money as a gift from God to bless other lives, who will use their money to guarantee that the Gospel is preached all over the world, we glorify God. We also glorify God by our prayer life and our faithful observance of the Lord’s Day. We glorify Jesus by offering Him humble and selfless service in our brothers and sisters – distributing lunches to the homeless begging on the street-corner, volunteering at homeless shelters, tutoring children, helping with after-school care, teaching Vacation Bible School, or doing random acts of kindness, to name a few. Finally, we glorify God by speaking kind, merciful, loving, and encouraging words to everyone we encounter, and praying for them and their needs.
JOKE OF THE DAY: on prayer
1) So Far, So Good. “So far today, God, I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped, haven’t lost my temper, haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or over-indulgent. I’m really glad about that. But in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of bed and from then on, I’m probably going to need a lot more help. Thank you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen”
2) Sit back and enjoy a fine game: Just before the football game started, both teams gathered together and prayed briefly. A fan seated next to a rabbi asked what he thought would happen if both teams prayed with equal Faith and fervor. “In that event,” replied the rabbi, “I imagine the Lord would simply sit back and enjoy one fine game of football.”
3) “No Sir, I’m not scared.” “Do you say your prayers at night, little boy?” inquired the pastor. “Yes, Father,” answered the lad. “And do you always say them in the morning, too?” “No, sir,” responded the lad. “I’m not scared in the daytime.”
1) “Dear Lord, you know Charlie Stoltzfus.” Tony Campolo, professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University and the founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education (http://www.redletterchristians.org/), tells an intriguing story about being in a worship service where a man prayed a very pointed prayer for a friend. “Dear Lord,” the man prayed, “you know Charlie Stoltzfus. He lives in that silver trailer down the road a mile. He’s leaving his wife and kids. Please do something to bring the family together.” Amazingly, as the man prayed, he repeated the location “the silver trailer down the road a mile.” After the prayer, Tony preached, and then left to drive home. On the turnpike he noticed a hitchhiker and decided to give him a lift. “My name’s Tony,” Campolo said, “What’s your name?” “Charlie Stoltzfus,” the hitchhiker said. Campolo was dumbfounded. It was the young man for whom the prayer had been offered. Campolo got off at the next exit. “Hey, where are you taking me?” asked the hitchhiker. “Home,” Campolo said. The hitchhiker stared in amazement as Tony drove right to the young fellow’s silver trailer. That afternoon that young man and his wife surrendered their lives to Christ. And today that hitchhiker is a preacher of the gospel. [“You Can Make a Difference.” Today’s Christian Woman. (Nov./Dec. 1988).] –Today’s Gospel gives Jesus’ “High Priestly prayer for his disciples. https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
2) “Name it and claim it.” The preacher urged his television congregation to “But why should I tithe?” someone asked him. “To get,” the preacher replied. “We tithe in order to get. I want to get healed, I want to get well, I want to get money, I want to get prosperous.” This popular form of Christianity was recently written up in Time magazine. The “prosperity Gospel.” (Does God want you to be rich?http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1533448,00.html). That is what it is called. There are many who peddle its wares. You might have heard some of them on radio or television. “Name it and claim it.” That is what it is about. Just name what blessing you want in life. Then claim it. Claim that the Lord has given it to you. If you name it and claim it in true Faith, it will be yours. If you fail to get what you ask for, then your Faith is obviously weak. Anyone who wants to prosper in this world, and who claims that prosperity in true Faith, will prosper indeed. That is the message of the so-called “prosperity gospel.” The prosperity gospel illustrates the incredible ways in which the values of the world that we live in and the values held by some Christian people are virtually indistinguishable from each other. Here the world’s agenda has become the Church’s agenda. In today’s Gospel, Jesus prays for his disciples and for their right relationship to the world. In his prayer Jesus says that his followers are not of this world as he is not of this world. When Jesus says that we are not of this world, he means that we have been born from above or born anew. When Jesus Christ gives us his word, we experience a new birth. Christians are not of this world. Since we are not of this world, Jesus says, the world hates us. (See Jn 17:14.). https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
3) The Boy Scouts of America are locked in a court battle, testing whether or not a private organization can set standards based on its own values. The Boy Scouts are being sued because a homosexual person believes he should have the right to be a scoutmaster. But the Boy Scouts and the United Methodist Church regard homosexual conduct as immoral. Here is a perfect example of how our Christian value system stands against that of much of secular America. Some Americans believe that whether a politician cheats on his wife should have no bearing on his fitness for public office. They say, “As long as the stock market is up and inflation down, who cares what he does in his personal life? That might be okay — if God were not righteous and if America did not need God. Then any behavior would be acceptable. But America without the protection of God is just a latter-day version of Sodom. If a man or a woman cannot be trusted with private moral decisions how can he or she be trusted with moral decisions affecting all of society? Our challenge as Christians is to live in a secular society without selling out or bailing out by abandoning our Christian values. https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
4) “A fool would have swallowed that.” In one of his writings, Thomas Carlyle the famous Scottish satirist, essayist, historian, teacher, and philosopher told of a country boy who went to a fancy dinner. In the midst of the meal, he got a piece of hot potato in his mouth. Much to the embarrassment of all those dignified ladies and gentlemen there at the table, he spit the piece of potato out and put it back on his plate. Then he looked around at the shocked faces of all those gentled people and said, “You know, a fool would have swallowed that.” — The text from John’s Gospel chapter 17 is not too hot to handle because it is too expansive, too rich in meaning and offers too many profound truths to conquer in one sermon. It’s meant to be pondered on and lived out with prayerful Faith and trust in God. https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
5) “Jesus, remember them when You come into Your Kingdom.” There is a book about a lawyer named Ned from Australia [Bruce Larsen, My Creator, My Friend (Dallas: Word Books 1986), pp. 142-143]. He had once visited Kenya and, while there, walked through one of the worst slums in the world to a hut where three brothers lived. When he entered the hut, he immediately found himself in the center of a dozen or so children leaping into the air with joy at his presence. There was a contagious spirit in that rundown little hut, and soon Ned was jumping up and down with them. Then the kids started a sing-along, and they had a wonderful time together. When it came time for Ned to leave, something happened that he says he will always remember. From the far side of the room he heard a quiet but clear voice. And what Ned heard was something like this: “We pray for the people of Australia, for Ned and his family.” The group of children suddenly became very quiet. Then they responded: “Jesus, remember them when You come into Your Kingdom.” Ned couldn’t believe it. In the middle of Africa, in the middle of the worst slum in the world, a group of slum kids, with reverence and earnestness, were holding up before God the people of Australia. The prayer hit him hard, and he thought to himself, “God, if Australia has any hope at all, it will be because of kids like this.” — There is a great power in prayer and today’s Gospel passage is about Jesus’ prayer for his disciples. https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
6) Christian integrity: In 1966, at the 39th Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC, in the fourth round, Rosalie Elliott, then an eleven-year-old from South Carolina, drew the word “avowal.” In her soft, Southern accent, she spelled it. But did the seventh grader use an “a” or an “e” as the next to the last letter? The judges couldn’t decide. For several minutes they listened to tape recording playbacks, but the critical letter was accent—blurred. Chief Judge John Lloyd finally put the question to the only person who knew the answer. “Was the letter an “a” or was it an “e”?” he asked Rosalie. Surrounded by whispering young spellers, she knew by now the correct spelling of the word. But without hesitating, she replied that she had misspelled it. She walked from the stage. — The entire audience stood and applauded, including fifty newspaper reporters, one of whom was heard to remark that Judge Lloyd had put quite a burden on an eleven-year-old. Rosalie rated a hand, and it must have been a heart-warming and proud moment for her parents. [Quoted by Don Shelby, “Who’s in Charge Here?” (September 16, 1984).] In today’s Gospel Jesus prays for such integrity in his disciples. https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
7) “I can’t remember the other.” One of the most memorable sections in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ prize-winning novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude concerns a strange disease that invaded the old village of Macondo from somewhere in the surrounding swamp. It was a lethal disease of insomnia that attacked the whole town. The initial effect was the inability of people to sleep, although the villagers did not feel any bodily fatigue at all. A more critical effect than that slowly manifested itself: loss of memory. Gradually the victims realized they could no longer remember or recall the past. Soon they found that they could not remember the name, or the meaning of the simplest things used every day. You’ve heard of the fellow who said two things happen to you when you grow old: “one is the loss of memory, and I can’t remember the other.”— Christians are to be reminders, living reminders of Christ’s presence in the world. The world’s lethal disease is amnesia, the loss of memory. The Christian is God’s secret potion that cures this malady. Who was it who said, “The Church is always one generation away from oblivion”? So, here’s the question: “What is required that the world may believe?” The first thing required that the world may believe is that we have Christians who are in the world but not of the world. “Christianity was never meant to withdraw a man from life; it was meant to equip him better for life.” (Barclay) “And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you… I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. (John 17:11, 15). https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
8) Help someone in distress: Back in the days of King Arthur, a young knight would be invited to the banquet feast set for the Knights of the Round Table. He would be wined and dined. But he would not receive his golden spurs of knighthood until he went forth on a quest to serve his King and to help someone in distress. — In much the same way, we are gathered in the Christian community, and Jesus prays that his Father will protect us, for we, too, are sent forth, one in Faith and one in service. https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
9) “A Couple of VIPs” An advertisement campaign for the humane society in one city that pictured a dog and cat seated side by side on a beautiful couch. The caption over their heads read, “A Couple of VIPs – Very Important Pets.” And at the bottom, a second line read, “What makes them important is who owns them.” — If you and I are VIPs, there is only one reason – the One Who owns us. We are children of God, followers of Christ, Jesus’ own brothers and sisters by adoption – and it is in his footsteps that we follow. We are one in Faith and one in service – all children of God and followers of Christ. From the readings this morning it is clear that there is a purpose for our lives. And that purpose is that we go forth in loving service, bringing the message of God’s love to light. https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
10) John Chapman, alias Johnny Appleseed: In the early 1800s, a New Englander, John Chapman, appeared one morining in Licking Spring, Ohio, and taking some seeds from a burlap bag slung across his shoulder, he began to plant them. When he was finished, he quietly left town and moved on to the next town, where he did the same. You see, Chapman had read that there were few fruit-bearing trees in the Midwest, and he decided to do something about that. So John Chapman, alias Johnny Appleseed, set out, and in giving of himself in service to others, he left a lasting legacy of himself for generations to come. — God calls each of us to be a spiritual Johnny Appleseed, sowing the word of God’s love in the hearts and lives of those around us. https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
11) “If you mention God or Jesus, it’s taboo.” The great soul singer, Smokey Robinson, was a scheduled speaker for a two-day Youth Anti-Drug rally for the public schools of Sarasota, Florida. On the first day, he testified how God had rescued him from drug abuse. As a result, his speech for the second day was canceled. Smokey Robinson said, “The awful thing is that you can go into many public schools and talk about the Charles Manson murders, describe sexual promiscuity, and even pass out condoms, but if you mention God or Jesus, it’s taboo.” — Something is out of kilter. Smokey discovered that we, as Christians, are always caught in tension between the prevailing standards of our culture and the standards of Jesus Christ. We are called to live in that tension. We must neither cave in nor bailout. The more we are molded by Christ, the more tension we will have with the culture. The sparks ought to fly. Through that friction and tension, Jesus Christ can change our culture. That is why Jesus prayed for his disciples in his “High Priestly Prayer.” Note also St. Paul’s classic admonition as recorded in Romans 12:02, “Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
12) “Significant pause.” In his book Feather on the Wind, Edward Hayes discusses “waiting time” –- the pause or “waits” between the big incidents of our lives. Life is not so much composed of grand moments as it is of small ones: events that seem insignificant. If we add up these small events, however, they amount to a considerable part of our lifetime. Studies show, for example, that an average American spends about one year of his life simply searching for missing and lost belongings! During an average lifetime, a person spends around three years sitting in meetings. (If you’re in pastoral ministry, it may be closer to thirty years!) Dan Spreling, in Study in Time’s A-Wasting, reports that we spend five years waiting in line and eight months opening junk mail. — Instead of becoming upset and angry, we can use this time spent in waiting to examine more closely the world around us. If we have to wait in traffic or for someone we are supposed to meet, we can use the time to converse with God in silent prayer. What a wonderful opportunity to add years of prayer to our life! Karl Barth, the theologian, once designated this time as a “significant pause.” It is a pause between the actions of God, a pause in which all we can do is to wait and pray. As we gather at the end of these Easter weeks, we too might pause and ask ourselves how we can use this time to serve Christ and his Church as the apostles did in the upper room. https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
13) A martyr’s majesty appears in death: Abraham Lincoln had his enemies during his lifetime, but even those who had criticized him saw his greatness when he died. Someone came out of the room where Lincoln lay, after the assassin’s shot had killed him, saying: “Now he belongs to the ages.” Stanton, his war minister, who had always regarded Lincoln as crude and uncouth and who had taken no pains to conceal his contempt, looked down at his dead body with tears in his eyes. “There lies,” he said, “the greatest ruler of men the world has ever seen.” Joan of Arc was burned as a witch and a heretic by the English. Amidst the crowd there was an Englishman who had sworn to add a faggot to the fire. “Would that my soul,” he said, “were where the soul of that woman is!” One of the secretaries of the King of England left the scene saying: “We are all lost because we have burned a saint.” (William Barclay). https://frtonyshomilies.com/).
14) “Don’t suffer for being a malefactor.” There is glory, says St. Peter, in suffering for Christ (today’s second reading). There is only shame if we suffer because of our own misdeeds: “See to it, that none of you suffer for being a murderer, a thief, a malefactor, or a destroyer of another’s rights.” Back in 1951, newspaper columnist Victor Reisel was noted for his courageous exposure of racketeers in labor organizations. He so infuriated the racketeers that they finally called in a young hoodlum named Abraham Telvi and offered him $1,000 to throw acid in Reisel’s face so as to blind him and scare him off. Telvi accepted the commission, studied the columnist’s habits, and finally found a way of coming into his presence. He threw the acid and made a successful escape. The acid had indeed been on target. Reisel lost his sight, though not completely. But the attack only encouraged him to step up his battle against the mobsters; and the nation, appalled by what had happened to him, paid even closer attention to the cause he was fighting for. And what of Telvi? Unfortunately for him, in throwing the acid that had harmed his victim’s eyes, he had splashed some of it on his own face. It caused a permanent scar, not only harming his looks, but branding him with a mark that the police, who were still in search of him, might well use to identify him. If he were caught, the mobsters realized, he would probably finger his employers. There was, then, only one remedy. They engaged another assassin to shoot Telvi in the head and kill him. – Telvi who had damaged Riesel’s life, suffered the loss of his own life always a tragedy. But there was irony in the fact that he lost far more by his crime than the $1000 he had gained by it. He died as “a destroyer of another’s rights.” A reminder, isn’t it, that whenever we do willing injury to others, we inflict still greater injury upon ourselves? – Father Robert F. McNamara. https://frtonyshomilies.com/). LP/23
“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle A (No. 32) by Fr. Tony: email@example.com
Visit my website by clicking on https://frtonyshomilies.com/ for missed or previous Cycle C & A homilies, 141 Year of Faith “Adult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 197 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit https://www.catholicsermons.com/homilies/sunday_homilies of Fr. Nick’s collection of homilies or Resources in the CBCI website: https://www.cbci.in. (Special thanks to Vatican Radio website http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html -which completed uploading my Cycle A, B and C homilies in May 2020) Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604